I recently heard a talk by an Aalim where he was discussing the rights of Allah and the rights of mankind. He said that with regards to the rights of mankind even a shaheed will have to account for his debts before entering Jannah, and that 1 dinar of debt was equivalent to 70 accepted Farz salaah being given to the the person who is owed.
I was divorced many years ago. My ex-husband wanted to finalise the divorce at the Ulama body but I chose to go to the courts instead to get a more favourable settlement. This resulted in my ex-husband incurring hundreds of thousands of rands in lawyers fees. I subsequently remarried, and at the time my ex-husband sent to me a fatwa concerning child custody where he requested our daughter to go live with him, claiming the new father was a ghair-mahram. I refused partly out of maternal instinct, partly revenge for him divorcing me and partly out of a lack of taqwa. I know this grieved him greatly and he has always said that I have stolen years of time away from him and my daughter.
Today, I am filled a great fear as to the debt I owe, firstly for the financial cost that I caused by ex-husband to incur by going to the courts, secondly for the emotional cost of getting involved in a lengthy legal acrimonious battle, and thirdly for the irreplaceable time that I denied both him and my daughter. What will happen to me on the day of Qiyamah?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Sister, it is a blessing of Allah to realize and acknowledge one’s mistakes while time is still left to repent before we leave this world.
The doors of repentance [tawbah] are open and you can turn to Allah and sincerely seek forgiveness for what occurred in the past.
At the same time, you acknowledge that you have infringed upon the rights of your husband by causing him to incur financial costs in litigation expenses and to suffer emotionally due to being separated from his daughter.
In addition, while you have not mentioned details regarding the court’s decision, there is the possibility of your having obtained in the divorce settlement, money which was not rightfully owed to you by your husband.
The conditions for a sincere repentance when one infringes upon the rights of others are four: Leaving the sin.
 Feel remorse for having committed the sin.
 To resolve to never commit that sin.
 To redress (set right) the wrong that was committed against the other person. [i]
Regarding the last point, #4 above, you need to call (or) write a letter to your former husband and request him to forgive you for all the harm caused to him in these past years and to absolve you of any and all financial or material obligations you might owe him as a result of what happened. [ii][iii][iv]
If your former husband accepts, then you will have absolved yourself from any obligation that was due to him.
You should also request your daughter to forgive you for the time with her father that was taken away from her.
While it might seem difficult to admit to your ex-husband that you wronged him, it is a vital step for the acceptance of your repentance.
Our pious predecessors were very much concerned regarding the rights of others and would go to great lengths to redress any wrongs, however minor they might seem.
It is related that Abdullah ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy on him) stated: “To return 1 dirham acquired by doubtful means is more beloved to me than giving in charity 100,000 dirhams after 100,000 dirhams until he reached 600,000 dirhams.” [v]
Just a few days ago (at the time of writing of this answer) one of the most senior scholars in India, Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Yunus Jownpuri (may Allah have mercy on him) passed away. His assistant (also named Mawlana Yunus) narrates an incident that is noteworthy and related to the issue at hand:
“Shaykh Mawlānā Yūnus narrates that a few years ago when Shaykh fell extremely ill, he phoned Mawlānā Talha, the son of Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī requesting forgiveness for a small piece of a newspaper which he had used in the era of his father from his house without his explicit permission. Shaykh explained that he has never used anyone’s possessions without their permission except on this one occasion in the house of Mawlānā Muhammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī when Shaykh came across a reference and urgently required paper to make a note of it. He had no paper so he cut the side of a newspaper without taking express permission from the owner, Mawlānā Muḥammad Zakariyyā Kāndhelwī. Shaykh remembered this and sought forgiveness from his son Mawlānā Talha.” [vi]
May Allah enable us to follow in their footsteps. Ameen.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best,
Mufti Sohail ibn Arif,
Assistant Mufti, Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.
قال العلماء: التوبة واجبة من كل ذنب, فإن كانت المعصية بين العبد وبين الله تعالى لا تتعلق بحق آدمي [i]
فلها ثلاثة شروط: أحدها: أن يقلع عن المعصية. والثاني: أن يندم على فعلها. والثالث: أن يعزم أن لا يعود إليها أبدا. فإن فقد أحد الثلاثة لم تصح توبته. وإن كانت المعصية تتعلق بآدمي فشروطها أربعة: هذه الثلاثة, وأن يبرأ من حق صاحبها, فإن كانت مالا أو نحوه رده إليه, وإن كانت حد قذف ونحوه مكنه منه أو طلب عفوه, وإن كانت غيبة استحله منها.
رياض الصالحين، ص. ١٤ دار ابن كثير
رجل قال لآخر: حللني في كل حق لك علي، ففعل يبرأ قضاءً، وكذلك ديانة عند أبي يوسف رحمه الله تعالي [ii]
خلافاً لمحمد رحمه الله تعالي وعليه الفتوى
الفتاوى السراجية، ص. ٤٠٣
رجل قال لآخر: حللني من كل حق هو لك علي، ففعل وأبرأه، إن كان صاحب الحق عالما به يبرأ حكما [iii]
وديانة، وإن لم يكن عالما به برئ به حكما بالإجماع، وأما ديانة فعند محمد لا يبرأ وعند أبي يوسف يبرأ وعليه الفتوى
خلاصة الفتاوى، ٤/ ٤٠٦
قال لآخر حللني من كل حق هو لك علي ففعل وأبرأه إن كان صاحب الحق عالما به برئ حكما وديانة، وإن [iv]
لم يكن عالما به برئ حكما بالإجماع، وأما ديانة فعند أبي يوسف – رحمه الله تعالى – يبرأ وعليه الفتوى، هكذا في الخلاصة
الفتاوى الهندية، ٤/ ٣٨١ – ٣٨٢
كان يقول: لأن أرد درهماً من شبهة خير لي من أن أتصدق بمائة ألف درهم ومائة ألف درهم حتى بلغ [v]
عبدالله بن مبارك، ص. ٢٥٠ دار القلم